10 Things You Need to Know About The Roof of Your Home

by Ben SanfordMay 4, 2016

Keeping a Roof Over Your Head: Maintenance Tips & More

Unless it’s leaking, you might not think too much about your home’s roof, but perhaps you should. After all, it’s the first line of defense between the elements and the biggest investment of your life. Here are ten things you should definitely know about your home’s roof, and how to take good care of this valuable component of your house.
Contractor doing repairs on exterior of home rotted wood letting water get into house

Don’t Let Your Roof Rot

Roof rot can be a very serious issue. Fallen leaves, moss, and algae can cause your roof to retain water, which will accelerate the rotting process. If left unchecked, rotten shingles can let moisture into your attic or cause leaky ceilings.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

Clogged gutters aren’t just unsightly – they can actually damage your roof. They can cause water to accumulate on your roof, accelerating wear and encouraging rot and mold growth. And if your gutters become too weighed down with dead leaves and other detritus, they can actually be ripped from the side of your roof, causing further damage.

How to Spot Problems

We wouldn’t recommend getting on your roof to inspect it for issues, but there are a few things you can keep an eye out for on your own. Look for wear around the chimney and the boots that surround the kitchen and bathroom ventilation tubes. Check for cracked or bald shingles. Get a closer look with a pair of binoculars – do you see any loose nails? These can all be warning signs that your roof needs some serious attention.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Sometimes it’s a good idea to call in a professional. If you don’t know when your roof was serviced last or you’re considering purchasing a home, then you may want to have the roof professionally inspected. A seasoned roofing contractor will know how to spot potential issues and will be able to give you a clear picture of your roof’s condition.

DIY Roofing? Maybe Not

If you’re the do-it-yourself type, then you might be tempted to try replacing your roof on your own, but you may want to think twice about that. Roofing repair is difficult and potentially dangerous work; the last thing you need is to cause further damage or to injure yourself in the process.
Image shows a home under construction at the roofing phase

Your Roof Will Need to Be Replaced

Nothing lasts forever, and roofing is no exception. As a homeowner, you should anticipate your roof needing to be replaced at some point if you are planning on staying long-term. Most new roofs are designed to last for 20 years. Clay tiles and metal roofing are more expensive, but they offer better longevity than traditional shingles.

Check Your Roof Before Going Solar

These days, it seems like just about everyone’s interested in going solar. But before you install solar panels on your rooftop, you’ll want to make sure your roof is up to the task. If you happen to be in the market for a new roof and solar panels, then you might even be able to kill two birds with one stone and get solar shingles.

Roof Repairs Are a Smart Investment

There’s a lot at stake if your roof fails. A leaky roof can cause structural damage, mold growth, and all sorts of other costly problems. Thankfully, roof repairs are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the alternative.

How to Budget for Roofing Costs

A new roof can be expensive, but planning ahead can take some of the sting out of paying for it. Knowing how much to set aside for roof repairs is relatively easy, especially if you know when your roof was last replaced.

First, subtract the number of years your roof has been in place from its life expectancy (20 years, in most cases). Then, find out what it will cost to have it replaced. Finally, divide that by the number of months you expect your current roof to last, and you’ll know how much to put away each month.

Choose the Right Contractor

Before hiring a roofing contractor, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Ask around to see if your friends have any recommendations. Check Better Business Bureau ratings, and make sure any candidates are licensed and bonded. Find out if your contractor can provide solid references that you can contact. And if a roofing contractor’s bid seems too good to be true, know that it probably is. It’s better to pay a bit more for quality work, especially when it comes to roofing.

Keep a Roof Over Your Head

We hope these tips were helpful. Follow them, and your roof will keep your home safe, sound, and dry.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.

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